Passing the Bolivian immigration / Aduana office was probably the easiest laid back one I encountered. My passport was stamped in a second and returned my temporary bike permit with 20 bolivianos (3 bucks) few jokes were passed around with the officials about cold weather on a bike. - " Gracias " I was on my way.
A few kilometers later. The road turned to perfect black asphalt. The paved road leading to Paso Jama into Argentina. It was such a relief to be back on pavement after riding over 600 kms of rough, dirt roads.
I rode down 2000 meters in 50 kms, I felt the air getting warmer and warmer as I dropped elevation. At the Aduana in Chile, i was nervous to see if they would realize that my drivers license and motorcycle plates were all expired. If any country would notice, Chile would be the one.
To my surprise, passport was stamped, bike papers filled, a quick inspection on my bike was made by a young girl that just kept commenting how nice my jacket was ( I though she was making fun of me since I was covered in dust) but she wanted me to give her my nice green Patagonia jacket. Half hour later, i was on my way.
As I rolled into San Pedro, I ran into 3 bikers from Argentina. They had rented Honda Translap (big bikes) in Buenos Aires and heading into Bolivia. After one got a flat tire half way to the Border, they turned around to fix it in San Pedro. None of them of them had any Idea what they were getting into... No maps!!! no spare parts or anything, No camping gear, not even extra water. The trio were heading into an unknown epic. One guy was riding with his girlfriend on the back.
I told them about the bad roads, how much sand they should expect, gave them a few tips, like taking air out of their nice street tires! If they had no camping gear, that it would be a loooonnnng ride to where they could stay in a Hostel.
The poor girlfriend looked at me with fear. Perhaps they changed their planned route. Going North of Chile and cutting into Ollague pass, but no matter where they would end up. They better get ready to face cold weather, and sandy roads.
I gave them a map of Bolivia, wished them good luck and rode off to find a campground so I could clean up the dust from my teeth. I spent a couple days in San Pedro de Atacama, cleaning my bike, myself and my clothes. Checked my business with the world of internet, ate some good food after a few days on cookie diet, it felt nice to eat a good meal.
I checked out the Valley de la Luna at sunset and ran into another biker. Matthias of Germany had bought a ChineZ Moto 1 - 250 and had been riding solo since Ecuador. We met in the evening for some beers and exchanged some travel stories. Laughed about the bad roads of Bolivia and made plans to ride Paso de Sico to Argentina together. He didn't want to venture into more bad roads (paso de sico is another long section of dirt) He had been having problems with his bike along the way so he was planning of riding Paso de Jama, a nicer paved section to Salta Argentina.
Myself, I didn't like pave road so much, as it meant more traffic. I convinced him his bike would be fine, I had lots of tools to fix his bike if it would break down and the scenery is also nicer.
With the my shiny clean, clean clothes and enough of tourist scene, we rode away into more dirt making our way to Salta Argentina.
Yes, welcome to Chile! No more dirt...Leaving Bolivia behind...
Volcan Licancabur 6017 meters, view from Chilean side. I slept on the Bolivian side the night before.
Valley de la Luna in San Pedro de Atacama
My new riding partner Matthias, with his ChineZ bike and his huge backpack, riding towards Paso Sico.
Miriam climbing under warm sunshine at 4000 meters in Socaire Chile
We stopped here to meet Miriam, a german girl we met in San Pedro, she told us about this climbing spot along our way to Paso Sico. So Matthias and I stopped to get a couple pitches in. Awesome sandstone rock!
laguna Miscanti Chile
Taking in the views
Matthias making dust.
The Chilean border in no mans land
Wildlife along the road